A little over a month ago, one of the best Illini of the last seven or so years decided to join The House of Paign roster — Illinois’ The Basketball Tournament team.
Roster Announcement #3️⃣— House of ‘Paign (@IlliniTBT) April 27, 2020
One of the toughest guys to wear the Orange and Blue. @rayrice24 will be bringing that same grit and playmaking ability to this summer’s @thetournament . An incredible addition to our team. #Illini pic.twitter.com/RcLLRcSwWU
Rice joins former Illini Malcolm Hill, Andres Feliz, Cory Bradford, Nnanna Egwu, Leron Black, Mike LaTulip, and Michael Finke on the House of Paign squad. Finke and Rice are both alums of Champaign Centennial High School, representing the local Champaign area.
Rayvonte Rice is fondly remembered in Illinois Basketball lore. His greatest moment in an Illini uniform came in the clutch against a hated rival. Braggin Rights 2014 cemented his legacy as a premier offensive scorer and a player with deep-rooted ties to the University:
Similar to the Tyler Griffey buzzer-beating layup against Indiana, this was one of those “I remember where I was when it happened” moments, and those only come around every few years.
After transferring from Drake and sitting out one year, Rayvonte Rice averaged 16.1 points, 1.7 steals, 1.6 assists and 6.2 rebounds in his two years in Champaign. He was a 76 percent free throw shooter and shot 35 percent from the three point line. At 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, he was strong enough to defend some of the better Big Ten shooting guards. In all, he was the total package for Illinois and you’d be hard-pressed to find many weaknesses in his game.
Since graduating from Illinois, he’s bounced around, playing for teams teams in Europe and the Middle East. Most recently he suited up for Israeli Super League side Hapoel Eilat, where put up some big numbers in a short amount of time:
According to Rice’s Twitter, about two weeks ago he signed a contract with Ironi Nes Ziona BC, another Israeli Super League team based in central Israel. His teammates on that team are names college basketball fans will be familiar with: JP Tokoto (North Carolina), Jeff Withey (Kansas), Daequan Cook (Ohio State) and Corey Fisher (Villanova).
Like most professional sports leagues throughout the world, the Israeli Super League, which consists of 12 teams, was suspended in mid-March because of COVID-19. The league is expected to resume later this month in a condensed format.
Rayvonte Rice is an Illinois Fighting Illini player we all love and remember for his high-scoring, go-get-us-a-bucket performances. We wish him luck both in The Basketball Tournament and in his playing career in Israel.